Getting to Know the Momentum Crew with Calissa Leslie-Miller ('20)

By: Maggie Zhang

Year: Sophomore

Major: Psychology

Calissa is a sophomore at Wake who is actively involved in Momentum, the hip-hop dance crew on campus. She also engages in ice skating and hangs out with her friends during her free time. We interviewed her for her experiences at Momentum, which would be helpful for whoever on campus that is interested in getting involved in dancing!

Calissa first learned about Momentum her freshman year, and went to the audition that is held in the beginning of every fall semester. Because the audition is held only once a year, there is usually a large amount of people participating, which makes the audition crowded and competitive. As a freshman new to campus and still learning to find her way, Calissa did not make it for her first audition at Momentum. However, throughout her freshman year, she decided that the Momentum crew was still a group that she wanted to be in because she was “intrigued by the excitement and fun they seem to have whenever they perform.” So she worked hard with a dancer throughout the rest of the year and auditioned again in her sophomore year. This time, she successfully made it to the team, which later she described as her family.

Calissa told us that Momentum crew meets twice a week for two to three hours, and each time they will have someone from the crew to teach a piece he/she has prepared in advance. After everyone has learned the piece, they are separated into groups and perform for each other. The all-original choreography from multiple people can then be combined into a complete routine. These routines are then performed at open activities on campus or at the showcases of other dance crews. Momentum crew has just finished their last performance of the semester at Wake N Shake last weekend, and Calissa told us that at moments like this, it can get emotional for the graduating seniors.

When asked about the overall experience in Momentum, Calissa told us that “it is fantastic. Sometimes we’ve got a lot of work, and it gets overwhelming and exhausting. But in the end, I feel like I’ve gotten better as a dancer and I’ve gotten closer to this group of amazing people that I can call my family.” Calissa wants to remind all the dancers or potential dancers on campus that (1) remember the audition time for each dance group, and (2) have fun at the audition instead of freaking out. “If you have fun, then it’s worth it no matter what,” she said. “Speaking from my own experience, even if I did not make it the first time, it was still fun for me to go to the audition.”